The fifth-generation network is now being used in countries like the USA, China, and other places all over the globe. However, in India, the technology remains only limited to trials by telecom operators. The early auction of the 5G waves in these countries, coupled with robust finances and thriving telecom industry, led to the early launch of 5G in these places. However, the same is not the case for India. Currently, India’s telecom industry suffers under a heavy burden of dues. The telecom companies find themselves hardening up even for operational expenses. So much so that during the time of the pandemic, the telcos made a move to replace their customer service staff with chatbots in a lot of places. But, when the time comes, and the industry rises to the adaption of 5G, it is much likely that we will see European telecom gear manufacturers more than the Chinese ones.
The Debate on Security
Firstly, there is a debate on the security of Chinese telecom gear. The scare on Huawei, which has been going on for the last two years, causing much diplomatic tension between the USA and the Chinese mainland, has found its way to India as well. With the recently passed laws being very stringent on our northern neighbour. If we look at the recent legislation, we see that the government is not loosening up on the national security front anytime soon. Not only this, but the government also remains very sceptical about any investment coming from China right now. In such a scenario, the allowance of listing ZTE and Huawei on the telecom gear procurement website seems more like a formality than anything else.
Despite being allowed to sell to the Indian telecom companies right now, the ZTE and Huawei equipment will be inspected first, scanned for supply chain discrepancies, and will go through a lot more stages before any Indian company is able to get their hands on it. Besides, even with the Indian telecom companies having the option to list the specifications of the 5G gear, none of them came forward to do it themselves. This also shows the reluctance of the telecom operators as well to resort to Chinese gear.
Rise of the European Telecom Gear Companies
On the other side is the proliferation of companies like Nokia, Ericsson, and Samsung. While the Korean manufacturer is the telecom equipment provider of Reliance Jio, Ericsson and Nokia have been making strides by providing technology like MassiveMIMO, mmWave, and others. These companies have already started helping Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea in testing their gigabit 5G connections on the available spectrum. Besides, the deficit of supply created from the absence of Chinese telecom gear manufacturers is slated to be filled by these companies only.
Ericssons’ new ventures point to a good business in the Asian region as well. The Swedish manufacturer reported an increase to 4% in its total earning from India, which is double the amount of what it did in the same quarter last year. This definitely hints towards the rise of European telecom gear manufacturers in India.